Discover The Best Of The Netherlands From Home

Last Updated: April 25, 2023

Gerrit Vandenberg

Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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Hi, I'm Gerrit

I enjoy sharing useful tips about the beauty of this county.

Discover the best of the Netherlands before ever leaving home! I’ve compiled a carefully curated list of diverse sights and attractions spread around the country that you can explore from the comfort of your couch.

With this post, I aim to entertain and inspire you with new places to add to your travel bucket list for your next visit.

I collected a mix of renowned museums, concert halls, famous tourist attractions, and stunning natural areas.

This collection offers a well-rounded glimpse into the beauty of the Netherlands.

I have selected all the links and videos, but the content belongs to its respective creators, such as museums or YouTube channels.

All I can say now is: “Sit back, relax, and enjoy this virtual tour of our wonderful country.”

Introduction video to The Netherlands.
YouTube – length: 3:38. Enjoy an aerial introduction to the Netherlands.

The Famous Flower Fields Of The Netherlands

To experience the world-famous Keukenhof gardens in real life, you only have a short window for visiting. The park opens each spring for seven weeks. With outdoor flowers peaking in the final two weeks of April. But with the video below, you can enjoy its beauty year-round.

While most visitors focus on the Keukenhof and the smaller fields nearby, there are much larger production fields where few tourists come. And that area is called Flevoland, home to some of the largest tulip production fields. I also found drone footage of these fields.

Are you considering a visit yourself? Secure your Keukenhof tickets here: Skip-the-line ticket or ticket + transportation from a location of your choice: Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport, Haarlem, or Leiden.

To visit the production field in Flevoland, you must have a car. When you do, why not book a 1-1 video call with me during which I can help you find the best spots in this area? Or hire me as your private guide, and we’ll visit together, including private transportation.

Production Fields in Flevoland

YouTube video with drone footage of the tulips in bloom at the Flevoland folder.
YouTube – Length: 1:30. Drone footage of the tulips in bloom at the Flevoland folder.

The Keukenhof Gardens

YouTube video with birds-eye view on the Keukenhof gardens in the Netherlands. Definitely one the Best of the Netherlands.
YouTube – Length: 7:00. Birds-eye view of the Keukenhof Gardens.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is our capital and the most famous city in The Netherlands. Today you’re going to discover some beautiful drone footage of the city itself, visit one of the most beautiful concert halls in the world, and you’re going on virtual tours inside the most renowned art museums home to this city. I hope you’re just as excited as I am.

A drone fly over to show a day in Amsterdam.
YouTube – Length: 1:55. Twenty-four hours in Amsterdam drone footage.

This is Holland, 5D flight Over The Country

“This is Holland” is a 5D flight experience very similar to Soarin’ in Disney World, but longer. You get an excellent overview of the whole country, delivered spectacularly. This is one of my favorite attractions in Amsterdam.

5D flight of The Netherlands: "This is Holland" attraction Amsterdam.
YouTube – Lenght: 0:30. This is Holland Amsterdam 5D flight of The Netherlands.

When you plan on visiting in person, you can buy your entrance ticket for This is Holland here. Or use the I Amsterdam City Card (check out my blog post here if that card can be worth it for you).

The Anne Frank Museum

The Anne Frank Museum has created a professional series staged as a vlog. It’s about Anne living her secret life in the Annex, but now with a camera instead of a diary. 

It’s a 17-part series of the life of Anne Frank, which you can all watch on YouTube. Each episode is about five minutes in length.

The series has subtitles in English, German, Spanish, and Portuguese and has been received very well.

Anne Frank docu series by the Anne Frank House.
Docuseries by the Anne Frank House Museum on the life of Anne Frank.

When you’re ready to visit the museum on your own, I recommend reading my blog post on Anne Frank first for detailed information on how to book your tickets in advance (since this can be a little tricky).

The Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is the largest and most important of all museums in the country. It’s the national treasure vault. The museum has a collection of close to a million items.

This is where you see the works of world-famous painters like Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Vermeer, and Van Gogh. Or be awed by an extensive collection of Delft’s Blue Doll Houses, and furniture, all starting from the year 1100. 

Rijks Studio – Discover 700,000 pieces of art in high resolution

A fantastic tool available at your fingertips, absolutely free of charge, is the Rijksmuseum Studio. It’s an online database that contains most of the museum’s collection in high-resolution imagery.

Rijksstudio the most amazing online art library I've seen. Discover over 700,000 pieces of art in the Rijksmuseum online and free of charge.
Discover this digital library of almost all works in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

Discover over 700,000 pieces of art and zoom in on minor details if you want to. You can download images and get color pallets matching the paintings. It’s pretty awesome.

Walk around, virtually, in the Gallery of Honor. The area of the museum with the most famous pieces of art, including The Night Watch by Rembrandt, the Milkmaid, and the Merry Family. I was surprised at how real this experience felt.

Virtual visit to the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Discover the Gallery of Honor—home to the best works in the Rijksmuseum.

Ready to plan a visit to the museum yourself? Buy your skip-the-line entrance ticket here. Or use the I Amsterdam City Card (check out my blog post here if that card can be worth it for you). Make sure also to reserve a time slot ahead of time.

The Van Gogh Museum

Is visiting the Van Gogh Museum high on your list? Then the good news is that the museum has a seven-part series for a virtual visit from home. Experience Vincent van Gogh’s extraordinary legacy through a virtual tour that brings his iconic masterpieces and lesser-known gems to life.

Virtual tours in the Van Gogh Museum

Explore this 7-episode virtual tour on the Van Gogh Museum’s YouTube channel. Dive into his artistry as each episode transports you through the museum’s collection. It’s like the museum is all yours for the moment.

Van Gogh Museum virtual tour on Youtube.
YouTube Virtual tour of the Van Gogh Museum – Length: 2-3 minutes per episode.

Van Gogh Questions – Answered by a Van Gogh expert

Another great experience from home is the “Van Gogh Questions” series. Where an expert answers a Van Gogh question every Friday at 4 pm local time. Watch them here on YouTube:

Van Gogh Questions series on YouTube.
Each YouTube episode of the Van Gogh Questions series is 3-5 minutes long.

Are you now even more inspired to see the sunflowers for yourself? Then buy your entrance ticket here. But make sure to do this in advance and to reserve a time slot because this museum can sell out weeks in advance.

Stedelijk Museum (Museum of Modern Art)

The Stedelijk Museum has an array of virtual experiences to visit the museum from home. The Stedelijk is the leading modern and contemporary art museum in the Netherlands. Its collection includes works of art and design from the early 20th century to the present day, focusing on modern and contemporary art, industrial design, and applied arts.

Mini documentaries from the Stedelijk Museum

The Stedelijk created this playlist full of mini-docs about artists, past exhibitions, and contemporary art topics. They take you behind the art and explain the reasoning behind them.

Mini-docs of the Stedelijk Museum on YouTube.
Mini docs from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam on YouTube.

Creative workshops from the “Stedelijk.”

Something completely different but also enjoyable is workshops you can download for free. We can now all become more creative with personal tips from artists and designers like Viktor&Rolf, Joep van Lieshout, Marlene Dumas, and Rineke Dijkstra.

Create with Artists free workshops from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.
Free workshops from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam – Photo: Stedelijk Museum

Download the free material here. PS: If you created something, share it on Instagram don’t forget to tag us @hiddenholland

Audio Tours – Get The Stories Behind The Artworks

Enough video? The Stedelijk also offers Audio series to enjoy from home. Discover this series of audio tours where artists share their stories behind the artworks. You can listen to them here. PS: Each series is available in Dutch and English, so select the ones where the title starts in English.

Are you excited now to visit in person? Buy your entrance ticket here. Or use the I Amsterdam City Card (check out my blog post here if that card can be worth it for you).

Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam

After discovering a few of the top museums in the country, it’s time for something different but equally famous. The concert building in Amsterdam: “Het Concertgebouw.” Home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. This concert hall is acclaimed for its acoustics and pretty design.

I found 40 unique videos recorded during the pandemic where they filmed empty concert hall sessions. It offers both a view inside this spectacular building and equally beautiful music. Take some time, pour a glass of wine, and enjoy.

40 sessions at the Concertgebouw recorded during the pandemic with no audience.
Enjoy 40 unique sessions recorded in an empty concert hall at the “Concertgebouw.”

Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and one of the busiest in the world—a guarantee for a lively and diverse city around the clock. Rotterdam is also an anti-dote to the Dutch cute: hardly any cobblestoned streets here or richly decorated canal houses. No, instead, Rotterdam is known for its cutting-edge architecture and skyscrapers. So even though you can’t admit it publically, this part of our virtual visit is a great escape from all that coziness.

If you like to visit in person, you might like to read my post on things to do in Rotterdam.

Enjoy the modern city of Rotterdam from above with this drone footage of the city.
YouTube – Length: 1:35. Twenty-four hours in Rotterdam drone footage.

The Maasvlakte Harbor in Rotterdam

The Maasvlakte is a man-made extension of the port of Rotterdam. Created in the late 20th century, the Maasvlakte is one of the world’s most significant engineering projects, designed to accommodate the largest ships in the world. The area includes container terminals, oil refineries, and other industrial facilities. Enjoy this gorgeous imagery:

Explore the largest Harbor area in Rotterdam - the Maasvlakte with this gorgeous drone footage.
YouTube – Length: 2:04. Drone footage of the Maasvlakte at the Rotterdam Harbor.

The Hague

Welcome to The Hague, where the beach meets the city! The Hague is home to the seat of government (with its gorgeous “Binnenhof” square. But also to the royal family and almost all embassies of the world. The Hague is also home to the peace palace. And, of course, the beach at Scheveningen, eternalized by numerous painters.

But on this virtual tour, I want to zoom in on two of the city’s attractions, the Maurits house museum. And Madurodam, the smallest city in the city.

The Mauritshuis – Home of the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer

The Mauritshuis might be small in size, but home to one of the world’s most famous paintings: the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. The mysterious picture almost all of us know. But there are more big works to be discovered in this museum, like Rembrandt and other Dutch and Flemish painters of the golden age.

Interior of the Maurits house in The Hague.
Interior of the Mauritshuis in The Hague. Can you spot the Girl with the Pearl Earring?

The museum has made available different experiences for us to enjoy from home. From online classes, virtual tours, a 3D visit, and more. You can find all of these resources by clicking here. It’s terrific. But I’m a fan, so I’m biased.

One video I like in particular is not from the museum itself but created by TED-ed. The video explores why the Girl with the Pearl Earring is considered a masterpiece. It’s entertaining while informative at the same time. Seeing the skills of Johannes Vermeer explained is mind-boggling. You can join the 3 million people before you who have watched this video:

TED-ed talk about why the Girl with Pearl Earring from Johannes Vermeer is so captivating.
YouTube—length: 4:33. Why is “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” so captivating?

When you are ready to visit in person, you can buy your entrance ticket here.

Madurodam – The Hague

Madurodam is a miniature city in The Hague that is home to the most famous buildings and structures of Holland, all at scale. It’s beautifully done and interactive.

My fondest memories as a kid were of inserting small coins in some of the objects, and things started to move and come to life, like the funfair. You can explore the park from home with this well-done drone video of WonderLiv:

Explore the smallest city in a city: Madurodam miniature world.
A 16 minutes walking tour around Madurodam Holland on Youtube.

Madurodam has been a favorite for locals and visitors alike for decades. I’ve visited the park since I was little and still love to go occasionally. If you plan to visit, you can buy your Fast Track Entrance Ticket for Madurodam here. It’s a great addition to your day in the Hague. Just an hour away from Amsterdam.

Giethoorn – The Venice of the North

The village of Giethoorn might not need much of an introduction. This beautiful town is not close to Amsterdam but famous nonetheless. The main reason why is because this town has canals instead of roads.

That is why it’s called the Venice of the North. It’s one of Holland’s most well-known tourist attractions outside of Amsterdam. The village is about 2 hours northeast of Amsterdam and not easy to reach on public transportation. Most people visit as part of an organized group tour.

My advice: Rent a car and travel on your own. An added benefit of traveling on your own is that you can also include the National Park, “The Weerribben,” to your itinerary, which is next door (tip rent a canoe). And the UNESCO World Heritage site “Schokland” – a dried-up island in a former sea, is also on your way there.

You can also hire me as your private guide, and we’ll visit this beautiful area with door-to-door transportation included.

But first, enjoy a beautiful video from the “Videoproducers” exploring the village of Giethoorn like you’re there already:

Enjoy the Venice of the North: Giethoorn, the Netherlands.
YouTube – Lenght: 5:00. Be charmed by the village of Giethoorn.

Kinderdijk – See More Windmills Together Then Anywhere Else

Kinderdijk is a truly iconic spot in the Netherlands that you don’t want to miss. Nestled in the Dutch countryside, this UNESCO World Heritage site boasts 19 historic windmills, standing tall against the backdrop of green grassland. It’s an iconic Dutch sight. But also a great engineering masterpiece for keeping the land dry during the time it was built. There is not a better example in the country to see this, than here.

It’s a lovely boat trip from Rotterdam. From the foot of the Erasmus bridge, you can take a waterbus (ferry) to Kinderdijk that takes you there in just 40 minutes.

Here are tips from an American visitor for inspiration once you visit the Kinderdijk windmills in real life.

But first, enjoy a beautiful video from the “Polychronis Drone” exploring Kinderdijk like you’re there already:

Drone video of Kinderdijk.
Youtube – Lenght 2:30. Enjoy beautiful Kinderdijk from above.

Palace Het Loo – Apeldoorn

Paleis Het Loo is one of the most iconic castles in Holland. It’s famous for its 17th-century style symmetric gardens. The building and the gardens are a museum well worth visiting, especially after the five-year renovation has recently been completed. It’s so beautiful now everything is restored to its old glory.

By the way, did you know the palace is featured in both the “This is Holland experience” where you fly over it from above, and it is shown in Madurodam on scale?

When planning to visit Holland, most definitely add the Palace Het Loo to your itinerary! It’s easy to get to by train (about an hour from Amsterdam) and a short bus ride.

But for now, enjoy the gardens from home with this beautiful drone footage:

Fly over the 17th century gardens of Paleis het Loo in Apeldoorn.
YouTube – Lenght: 1:45. The symmetric gardens of Palace Het Loo Apeldoorn.

The Efteling, Amusement Park – Kaatsheuvel

Not well known outside Holland, Germany, and Belgium, but we have a Disney-worthy theme park in Holland of our own called the Efteling.

The park pre-dates Disney when it opened as a fairy tale park, beautifully landscaped in a forest. That part of the park is still open today, and it oozes nostalgia and is an immersive experience for small children. But since the Efteling has expanded rapidly. It’s not just for kids at all. Every generation loves the Efteling.

It’s now a park you can easily spend 1-2 days exploring. It’s a beautiful place, with both thrill rides and more mellow experiences for the entire family. One of its charms is its eye for architectural detail, just like Disney. But it’s different. It’s very Dutch and inspired by the great Dutch drawer Anton Pieck. He was a drawing master and designed the look and feel of many rides and buildings in the park.

Enjoy a drone flight that was filmed during the pandemic without visitors. It’s stunning:

Drone footage of the Efteling amusement park.
YouTube – Lenght: 2:27. Drone flight over the Efteling Park in The Netherlands.

Also, I found an old documentary about the life of Anton Pieck and his influence on the park that has been re-released. You can watch it here (English subtitles are available):

Documentary on the life of Anton Pieck, the mastermind designer of the Efteling.
YouTube – Lenght: 29:47. Anton Pieck, a renowned illustrator and creator of the Efteling.

PS: if you enjoy theme park music, search for “Efteling” in your favorite music services like Apple Music or Spotify to find the official park albums.

Are you visiting Holland? Make sure to add an extra day to your itinerary to visit this beautiful park about 90 minutes south of Amsterdam. You can buy an entrance ticket for the Efteling here.

Open-Air Museums of the Netherlands

Holland has three famous open-air museums. I’ve written a longer post on all three open-air museums in Holland and their differences if you would like to read more about them, but here are three experiences of visiting the museums from your home:

The Zaanse Schans

The Zaanse Schans is the best known of the three and is near Amsterdam. The area is freely accessible, but many tourist businesses are active in the museum village. Foreign visitors mostly visit the Zaanse Schans. But it’s fun to go, as you can see in this gorgeous drone footage:

Drone footage of the Zaanse Schans.
YouTube – Lenght: 1:13. Spectacular Zaanse Schans Open-Air Museum footage.

Looking forward to visiting the Zaanse in person? Here is my Zaanse Schans post.

Open-Air Museum Enkhuizen

Then there is also the much-beloved Open Air Museum Enkhuizen. This park is a real museum with an entrance fee. Because of that, the park is far less commercial and more authentic than the Zaanse Schans.

Because of its relative distance from Amsterdam (1 hour), its primarily loved by locals. But that’s a shame, I highly encourage you to visit.

The museum showcases a fisher’s village located on the open sea back in the day. You’ll arrive by ferry, after which you can walk around an authentic town and experience its customs and foods from an era long gone. My favorite place is the: “fish smokers’ house.” The smoked herring is exquisite.

The Open Air Museum Enkhuizen is mapped on Google Street View. Thus you can walk around the park from your computer screen. It works best on an iPad or computer. Click here to open the map. When you’re ready to visit, you can get your tickets here.

Walk around the Enkhuizen open-air museum in Google maps.
Open Air Museum Enkhuizen via Google Street View – Photo: Google

Open-Air Museum Arnhem

And finally, the Open-Air Museum in Arnhem. This is in the east of the country and the national open-air museum. Visited mainly by the Dutch to learn about their history. But it’s a great museum to visit for everyone. Here you can ride on historic trams, visit the old streets of Amsterdam, and see how the Dutch generally lived over the decades.

Virtual tour of the Dutch open-air museum in Arnhem.
YouTube – Lenght: 2:05. Get a glimpse into the Dutch Open-Air Museum Arnhem.

The island of Vlieland (one of the “Waddeneiland”)

The Wadden Islands are a unique and biodiverse chain of islands located in the Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site, in the North of the Netherlands. When visitors first think about the Netherlands, it’s windmills, tulips, and flat countryside. Of course, we are all that. But Dutch nature is much more diverse, and these islands are perfect proof.

Vlieland is one of the peaceful and picturesque islands of the Wadden Sea, known for its unspoiled beaches, car-free streets, and stunning natural scenery. Here is some drone footage to show you what I mean:

Drone footage of Vlieland.
YouTube – Lenght: 2:56. Spectacular drone footage of the Dutch island Vlieland.

The Defense Town of Naarden-Vesting, Not Far From Amsterdam

Naarden Vesting is a charming fortified town in the heart of the Netherlands, known for its well-preserved walls, historic architecture, and picturesque surroundings. You quickly visit this town with the Amsterdam Region Travel Ticket. And the fortress museum (worth a visit) is included in the “I Amsterdam City Card” (check out my blog post here to see if it’s worth it for you).

A visit to Naarden Vesting is like stepping back in time with its cobblestone streets, quaint shops, and beautiful old buildings. Here is another drone video to show you the beauty of this town from above:

Drone footage of Naarden Vesting close to Amsterdam.
YouTube – Lenght: 2:33. Spectacular footage of the fortified town Naarden Vesting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit The Netherlands?

When you’re ready to visit this beautiful country in person, you can visit year-round, but some of the attractions above are only open in season (April – October). And the flowers can only be seen in Spring. And for the best display, the end of April is best. But the country is then also at its most busy. The weather is not that great in autumn, but you can enjoy quieter museums and the excellent fall displays in the Dutch forests. The best time to visit depends on what you want to do when you’re here. If you’re unsure, why not book a 1-1 video call with me, and we figure it out together?

What is the primary language spoken in The Netherlands? Do locals speak English?

Dutch is the official language. Please don’t confuse this with German. This is offensive to Dutch people. A large percentage of the population speaks English fluently. It should be easy for visitors to communicate.

Do I need advanced reservations for things like Museums in Amsterdam? Or can I spontaneously decide?

Amsterdam, in particular, is dealing with over-tourism. The most well-known areas, including the main Museums, will always be busy. The Rijksmuseum, The Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank Museum all require advanced reservations, with a strict time slot that is not flexible.

The same applies to better-quality canal boat companies. They fill up in advance on the busier day. And it’s not just Amsterdam. Going out in the country to a place like Palace Het Loo in Apeldoorn will still require a time slot.

My advice would be to plan the most important things to you in advance so you’re not missing out on the essentials only due to a lack of reservations. I would suggest creating a trip folder in your favorites bar (bookmarks) and adding links like this page to it, so you can easily find links to the attractions you would like to visit and make your reservations when you’re ready to book. The benefit of booking your tickets via these links compared to directly at the venue is that they usually offer better cancelation policies, which is essential when plans change.

One tip advice make sure not to plan too much on the same day. Take jetlag into account. Also, know if you want to visit time-specific sights, and keep those times clear in your calendar (like the Noordermarkt on Saturday morning.

Consider running your itinerary with me so I can take a professional look at your plans. Help you revise them and make them even more pleasant (plus I’ll sprinkle in some extra tips and suggestions), or outsource the planning altogether and let me create your custom itinerary. Here are the services I offer.

Which Virtual Activity Excites 🌟 You The Most?

I’d love to hear your thoughts: Which virtual experience has you most excited? Are you planning to visit any of these in real life? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.

Support My Passion for Holland: Every Coffee ☕️ Counts!

I hope you found this Virtual Activity guide valuable. If you’d like to support my work, please consider making a small donation by clicking here to “Buy Me A Coffee” —your generosity is greatly appreciated!

A Stress-Free Experience 😌

If planning this trip feels overwhelming, consider using one of my trip-planning services to simplify your vacation. I’m here to help you create an unforgettable experience.

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Gerrit shares his love for the Netherlands from his home near Amsterdam, helping thousands plan unforgettable trips to the lowlands. Discover his inspiring journey "From a critical health scare to celebrating Holland's charms". If you want to send Gerrit a quick message, you can contact him here.

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